Thirty new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Fayette County from July 21 through Aug. 3, according to Fayette County Public Health (FCPH).
“During our investigations we have identified a cluster of cases that are linked to an outbreak from Marysville, Ohio,” said FCPH Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon. “At this time, we have identified all of the contacts of the cases.”
FCPH staff members have been investigating these cases, identifying close contacts and isolating and quarantining cases and their contacts.
“While we know that residents are concerned that the increase in cases may be a result of the Fayette County Fair (which was held July 19-25), the data is insufficient at this time to declare the fair as the reason for the increase in cases,” said Cannon. “Individuals who reported attending the fair prior to the onset of symptoms have also reported visiting other locations, and so they cannot be definitively linked to the fair. Our investigation has revealed that many of the new cases are linked to large gatherings of friends, family or other social events.”
Currently, there are two individuals from Fayette County hospitalized due to COVID-19, according to FCPH. Fayette County is now at “orange/Level 2” of the Ohio COVID-19 risk level guidelines, which indicates that there is increased exposure and spread.
FCPH also announced that after close consultation with Miami Trace Local Schools, the Miami Trace High School volleyball activities are suspended until further notice. A specific reason was not provided.
“While social distancing and safety measures have been put into place across the county, the risk of contracting COVID-19 still exists. It is important to remember that the incubation period of this disease is 2-14 days. That means that what we see in today’s data reflects the action we took two weeks ago. It also means the actions we take today will affect whether the virus continues to spread in our community,” said Cannon.
The mass gathering order is still in effect and gatherings are limited to 10 people.
“Continue to be diligent in avoiding mass gatherings, wear a mask or facial covering when in public, maintain a six-foot distance form others, wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently and stay home if you are sick. Individuals at high risk for severe complications and their families should continue to take extra precautions,” said Cannon.
Gov. Mike DeWine issued a health order Tuesday requiring masks for children returning to in-person classes this fall.
The governor pleaded with concerned parents and educators across the state to abide by the state’s health orders as K-12 schools begin to open.
During his briefing Tuesday, DeWine said the mask order for students “gives us the best shot to keep Ohio’s kids and educators safe and physically in school.”
New cases in Ohio remain high, with 1,143 reported Tuesday, up from over 900 on Monday, marking a 21-day daily case average of 1,291.
“We all are trying to bring certainty to something we quite candidly cannot bring certainty to,” DeWine said. “We cannot know what the next 3 weeks will bring let alone for the next 3 months or 6 months or 9 months of school.”
DeWine believes, similarly to the statewide mask orders, there needs to be a localized approach to the reopening of schools, as each district “faces a new reality.”
Health officials believe community spread in individual school districts will dictate the outbreaks their schools will face.
The state plans to deliver 2 million masks given by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to regional education service centers, which will distribute to schools across the state, DeWine said.
MULTI-STATE TESTING AGREEMENT
DeWine also announced Ohio will be joining five other states “to work together” in a bipartisan, interstate compact to expand rapid detection testing as nationwide testing shortages and delays continue.
The first-of-its-kind agreement with Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia was announced Tuesday as each state is trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The agreement between the states is an effort to demonstrate to private manufacturers the need for scaling up production of rapid point-of-care antigen testing, which are simpler, faster and less expensive than the current testing model, DeWine said.
“Time is of the essence,” the governor noted about the demand for faster testing in Ohio as the number of daily cases have been pushing 1,000 for weeks.
The agreement was made in a compact with the Rockefeller Foundation, which plans to facilitate financing mechanisms that can support such a testing system.